The Rick Hooper Scholarship

Rick Hooper was a graduate from UCSC who was focused on spreading awareness surrounding Palestinian culture.

The Rick Hooper Scholarship was established to honor the memory of Richard M. "Rick" Hooper, who died at age 40 in the August 19, 2003, terrorist bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.

Rick, a 1985 graduate of UC Santa Cruz, spent many years in the Middle East and became one of the UN's chief experts on the region. He became interested in the Middle East as a UCSC undergraduate while studying abroad, and he returned to join a campus student organization, the Palestine Support Group, dedicated to promoting awareness of the culture, aspirations, and human rights situation of Palestinians. He spent an extra undergraduate year studying at Birzeit University, studied Arabic on a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Damascus and the American University of Cairo, and received a master's in Arab studies from Georgetown University.

Rick Hooper first joined the United Nations in 1990 as a refugee affairs officer in Gaza with the UN Relief and Works Agency. He later served at the agency's Vienna headquarters. Since 2001 he had been special assistant to the UN undersecretary general for political affairs. In 1995-96 and 1999-2001, he served as special assistant to the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process. He had a long association with the Norwegian Institute for Applied Social Sciences and helped establish its Program for International Cooperation and Conflict Resolution. He was also founding director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum in New York.

How to apply for the Rick Hooper Scholarship

The Rick Hooper Scholarship, administered through the Division of Social Sciences, is based on academic merit and financial need. Preference is given to undergraduate students in any UC Santa Cruz department who have a demonstrated interest in or are pursuing studies in one or more of the areas in which Rick Hooper focused his life's work:

  • increasing understanding of the Arabic language or the Arabic-speaking or Muslim world
  • study at a college or university in an Arabic-speaking or Muslim-majority country
  • an internship in peace and conflict resolution or human rights
  • study or work in Palestinian human rights issues

Candidates must be UCSC undergraduate students in good academic standing with demonstrated financial need. To apply, please complete the online application form, including a narrative proposal (500 words max.). Applicants must also send a project budget and a copy of their unofficial academic transcript via e-mail to the Social Sciences Dean's office to

  • The proposal must concisely explain experience, preparation, and concrete goals related to the topics above.
  • The project budget must outline the amount of funding required and how funds will be allocated. 

The deadline for applications for the 2024 award is midnight on Monday, March 8, 2024.



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